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State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection-Sustainability and Green Energy
State of New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection
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There is a critical link between energy and climate. Burning fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.  Combustion of these fuels is responsible for roughly 90 percent of New Jersey's greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, each year, generation of electricity from fossil fuels is responsible for over 30 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.

Energy efficiency is the easiest, most cost-effective way to reduce energy use and hence, reduce greenhouse gas generation. Renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and geothermal reduce our reliance on fossil fuels that contribute to climate change.

Through innovative programs, technical support, policy development and scientific research, Sustainability and Green Energy (SAGE) supports efforts to reduce the State's greenhouse gas emissions by helping New Jersey move toward a clean energy future.

Specifically, SAGE supports other DEP programs that promote energy efficiency and clean energy; works with other state agencies to quantify the greenhouse gas reductions that result from their programs, and provides technical assistance to help prioritize those clean energy projects that represent the wisest use of taxpayer dollars. Reaching beyond state government, OCE works with New Jersey universities as well as regional and national working groups to promote clean energy and fuels.

Reducing energy use and replacing fossil fuels with clean energy sources are key strategies for meeting the greenhouse gas limit required by the NJ Global Warming Response Act. Specific energy-related activities of SAGE include:

  • Encouraging Development of Renewable Energy
    Use of renewable energy for electricity transportation and space heating reduces our reliance on the fossil fuels that cause climate change. New Jersey requires that a portion of the state’s energy needs be met with renewable sources. SAGE helps the state move toward that goal, by:

    • Supporting the NJ Clean Energy Program. Run by the NJ Board of Public Utilities, the NJ Clean Energy Program offers financial incentives, programs and services for New Jersey residents, business owners and local governments to help them save energy, money and the environment. It is estimated that as of 2008, the Clean Energy Program has reduced carbon dioxide emissions by over 400,000 metric tons annually. SAGE provides environmental consultation services to the Board of Public Utilities to monitor its environmental benefits and to calculate the greenhouse reductions that result from energy savings.
    • Evaluating innovative technologies. Emerging and innovative renewable energy technologies show great promise for addressing the climate challenge. SAGE helps to evaluate new technologies for the NJBPU and the NJEDA.
    • Conducting sustainability determinations. It is crucial that potential renewable energy projects reduce greenhouse gases over their entire lifecycle and minimize negative environmental impacts. The SAGE conducts rigorous evaluations to assure that those Class I biomass renewable energy projects seeking NJBPU renewable energy generation credit meet New Jersey's standards for sustainability.
    • Conducting “Highest Environmental Standards” determinations. SAGE coordinates the NJDEP verification of projects that convert municipal solid waste into energy to ensure Class II renewable projects meet New Jersey’s clean air and solid waste standards.
    • Supporting the NJ Energy Master Plan. In December 2011, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities revised the state's Energy Master Plan, a road map to guide New Jersey toward a responsible energy future with adequate, reliable energy supplies that are both environmentally responsible and competitively priced. Successful implementation of the Energy Master Plan is critical if the state is to meet the 2020 greenhouse gas limit required by New Jersey law. SAGE supports implementation of the Energy Master Plan by:
    • Promoting Combined Heat & Power. Combined heat and power (CHP), also known as cogeneration, is the simultaneous production of electricity and heat from a single fuel source, such as: natural gas, biomass, biogas, coal, waste heat, or oil. SAGE helps both NJBPU and NJEDA evaluate applications for financial incentives for Combined Heat & Power installations.
    • Researching and facilitating renewable energy use. SAGE staff coordinates with the DEP Office of Permit Coordination and Environmental Review to help developers of new renewable energy projects get necessary and timely information about the permitting process.

      In consultation with SAGE, the DEP Division of Air Quality provides guidance on wood burning in New Jersey.

    • Supporting green manufacturing. The NJ Economic Development Authority awards grants to companies that manufacture products used for energy efficiency and renewable energy. SAGE conducts technical reviews of applications for these financial incentives.
    • Reducing Waste & Recovering Energy. Each stage of a product’s life cycle, including its “end of life” management, consumes fossil fuels that lead to climate change. In addition, decomposition of organic waste releases methane, which is both a potent greenhouse gas and a potential source of energy. SAGE is working in partnership with the DEP Solid and Hazardous Waste Management Program to develop and implement climate-friendly waste management strategies, and is participating in the development and implementation of the “NEWMOA Climate – Waste Action Plan to Support State Efforts.” NEWMOA (Northeast Waste Management Officials’ Association) is an interstate association composed of solid waste, hazardous waste, site clean up and pollution prevention programs of member states.
    • Seeking Regional & National Solutions. There are numerous regional and national agencies, associations, and working groups working on issues related to clean energy and fuels. Those regional and national groups include:

      U.S. Department of Energy - National Renewable Energy Laboratory
      Clean Energy States Alliance
      Northeast States for Coordinated Air Use Management
      Northeast Regional Biomass Program

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Last Updated: February 24, 2012